Unescaping Unicode code points in a Java string

Discussion in 'Java' started by Greg, Aug 31, 2006.

  1. Greg

    Greg Guest

    My Java program reads in (from an external source) text that contains
    the same sort of unicode character escape sequences as java source
    code. For example, one such string might be:

    "En Espa\u00f1ol"

    Naturally, I would like to convert the five characters subsequence,
    "\u00f1", into the single character codepoint (hex 00F1) that those
    characters actually represent:

    "En Español"

    I've been browsing the J2SE 1.5 docs hoping to find a convenient method
    to perform this kind of conversion, but so far have not found one. Does
    anyone have any suggestions?


    Greg, Aug 31, 2006
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  2. Long time ago I searched the Java API and sources for a method doing
    that kind of String decoding, but to no avail. The only thing I found
    was method
    private String loadConvert(String)
    in class java.util.Properties. But because it is private, it is not
    reusable outside Properties.

    (You find the source in src.zip of JDK installation directory)
    Thomas Fritsch, Aug 31, 2006
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  3. Greg

    Oliver Wong Guest

    Iterate through each character of the String, looking for the sequence
    "\u". If you find it, delete those two chars, and read in the next 4 chars.
    Parse that sequence of 4 characters into a integer assuming hexadecimal
    notation. Take that integer and cast it to a char, and insert the resulting
    char back into the String.

    - Oliver
    Oliver Wong, Aug 31, 2006
  4. One of many possible solutions:

    private static final Pattern p = Pattern.compile("\\\\u([0-9A-F]{4})");
    public static String U2U(String s) {
    String res = s;
    Matcher m = p.matcher(res);
    while(m.find()) {
    res = res.replaceAll("\\" + m.group(0),
    Character.toString((char)Integer.parseInt(m.group(1), 16)));
    return res;

    =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Arne_Vajh=F8j?=, Sep 1, 2006
  5. Greg

    Dale King Guest

    It's a bit more complicated than that because you will also need to
    support things like \\ to actually insert a backslash and perhaps
    support things like \n.
    Dale King, Sep 1, 2006
  6. If he is defining a new specification for escaped input, this would be
    nice but not necessary. "\" can be escaped as "\u005C", and a newline
    as "\u000A". In Java source code, "\u005C" results in a malformed string
    literal (which means one needs to use "\n" instead), but that escape
    sequence is permitted in properties files. On the other hand, the Java
    compiler and Properties.load() do not recognize the C escape-sequences
    "\v" and "\a" for VT and BEL.

    I think Arne's response (that used a regular expression) was too
    complicated, and the response to which you are responding was
    poorly-thought-out (because strings are immutable in Java). Here's a
    possible solution:

    String unescape(String s) {
    int i=0,len=s.length(); char c; StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer(len);
    while (i<len) {
    c = s.charAt(i++);
    if (c=='\\') {
    if (i<len) {
    c = s.charAt(i++);
    if (c=='u') {
    c = (char) Integer.parseInt(s.substring(i,i+4),16);
    i += 4;
    } // add other cases here as desired...
    }} // fall through: \ escapes itself, quotes any character but u
    return sb.toString();

    Unlike Arne's solution, it examines each character in the string only
    once, and it doesn't require the java.util.regex package (which was not
    introduced until Java 1.4). I also think it's more readable, to one who
    is trying to verify that it does exactly what's expected and no more.

    (What would Arne's solution do to "\u005Cu0020\u0020"? Is that the
    correct result?)
    David Lee Lambert, Sep 1, 2006
  7. Greg

    Dale King Guest

    It's up to him what he wants to specify, but personally I would prefer
    the \\ and \n.
    Which is understandable. BEL is specific to consoles and Java has no
    real support for consoles because they are too platform specific and VT
    is rarely used.
    The proper time to do the conversion is when the text is being read from
    the "external source" using some form of FilterReader subclass. I
    remember now that I wrote one of those once, but after a long search I
    have figured out that I left that code at my previous employer and did
    not keep a copy of it (which is a shame because that was part of
    something that was some really good work).
    Dale King, Sep 1, 2006
  8. Greg


    May 17, 2011
    Likes Received:
    I use the apache converter:
    Code (Text):
    vektor, May 17, 2011
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